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Mayor optimistic about troop growth
Mayor Jim Thomas
Back from his most recent trip to Washington, D.C., Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas briefed the City Council on Thursday on his efforts to bring more troops to the area, although any hope of drawing an official brigade has more or less dissipated.
“Our purpose was to talk to Congress regarding loss of that brigade and possible amelioration of the effects of the loss of brigade,” Thomas said.
Mayor Pro-Tem Charles Frasier and Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, accompanied Thomas. They visited most of Georgia’s delegates, including Reps. Jack Kingston, John Barrow, Jim Marshall, Sanford Bishop, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
“They wanted us to talk about effects on the city and business,” Thomas said. “Our community responded very well and our businesses, the city, the county, the board of education have all committed several millions to prepare for and receive the brigade. We lost significant investments.”
Right now, he said his main goal is to keep all the construction contracts in the military’s 2010 fiscal year budget, ensuring some positive economic activity in the area.
“Most of the budget for fiscal year 2010 was retained in the Senate,” Thomas said. However, he reminded the council that the budget still must be approved by the House.
The mayor said that in the next few months, Army officials will notify him about whether smaller units will make their way to Fort Stewart.
“We did get a lot of support from our congressmen, and the whole Georgia delegation supports us,” he said. “There’s not a definite answer that we’ll receive troops, but there are hopes we will.”
In other news, the council also was briefed about an emergency city pipe repair contract that was awarded by the mayor under emergency situations to P.C. Simonton on Wednesday. Work will begin to fix corroding pipes.
Also, Assistant City manager Kenny Howard received permission from the council to apply for a grant under President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant would give the city $5 million to upgrade Fire Station 1.
Many members of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority sat in the audience at Thursday’s meeting as the council reviewed and passed its Memorial Drive sub-area plan, which is an amendment to Hinesville’s ongoing redevelopment plan. Look for an article in next week’s Courier detailing the project.
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